Sooke’s in a pickleball frenzy

Looking for a new sport? Try pickleball.

Bevin Bigalky makes a quick return during pickleball action at the outside tennis courts on Throup Road. (Bruce Hogarth)

Duff Johnston describes pickleball as “addictive.” He was introduced to the sport two years ago by a friend and was hooked.

“I just dove right into it,” said Johnston, 61. “I adapted to the game very quickly.”

Johnston started playing the racket sport about 1½ years ago, and now plays up to four times a week, oftentimes with other competitive players.

Players say the popularity of the sport is rising in Sooke.

The sport has three outlets for play. For the last six years, SEAPARC has run a pickleball program at Journey Middle School on Monday and Wednesday nights, and Sooke Tennis and Pickleball hold sessions twice a week at the outdoor tennis court on Throup Road. Beginning in November, a drop-in is hosted at Sooke Community Hall twice a week.

RELATED: Pickleball a game for all generations and fitness levels

For the uninitiated, pickleball is something of a mix between tennis, racquetball and ping pong.

Players use special paddles and a wiffle ball, and games take place on tennis courts with specific pickleball lines. Nets and court sizes are smaller than their tennis counterparts, and the most common game is doubles, although singles is also an option.

RELATED: Pickleball tournament fills Saanich arena

The game has its own set of quirky rules – for instance, try to stay out of the “kitchen” – but they’re easy to learn.

Another benefit of the game? Pickleball is affordable, making it accessible to all. A beginner can pick up a basic wooden paddle and balls at retailers for under $50, although prices for composite paddles can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Marilyn Erickson, who plays with Sooke Tennis and Pickleball, said the game appeals for several reasons.

“For one, it’s very social,” she said. “It’s a social outing every time you get together.”

Another factor Erickson, 72, appreciates is its an inclusive sport for all ages and abilities. Many seniors in Sooke place the game after having replacement surgery for hips, knees and even cataracts, she said, adding the game is not just for seniors, but everyone.

The game is also quick, making it a convenient way to get in some exercise. Games typically run only 15 minutes each – and you can get in as little or as much as you want.

“It’s a game you can advance quickly,” said Johnston, who travels to Victoria several times a week to play with more competitive players.

Maxine Medhurst, 73, has played the sport for about six months, but has never been very athletic. She now plays four times a week.

“I’ve never been good at any sport and I’m not awesome at this, but I can play and I love it,” she said.

“It’s very addictive. I’m thinking about it all the time. It’s crazy.”


Basic rules of pickleball

• A pickleball court is a rectangle 20 feet wide and 44 feet long

• You serve underhand

• You only earn points if you are the serving team

• Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist

• Games are normally played to 11 points. You have to be two points ahead to win.

• When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it. The serving team must let it bounce before returning. This is known as the two bounce rule.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Oak Bay pandemic project gets 300 submissions

Gage Gallery exhibit shows how people cope during crisis

Peninsula food bank receives $1,000 donation from local retailer

House of Lily Koi raised the money through the annual food bank fundraiser

Garden-sharing map connects Victoria landowners and gardeners

U-Map created by Young Agrarians after COVID-19 created uptick in garden matching requests

Saanich wins award for climate plan cut from 2020 budget

‘It’s truly an exceptional plan,’ says councillor disappointed with lack of funding

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read